Linux 1, together with the associated GNU project, is a widely-used operating system developed by software engineers worldwide. It is free both in the sense of ``freedom'' and ``free beer''.
Knoppix is a version of Debian GNU/Linux which runs off a ``live'' CD. This provides an easy introduction to Linux without touching your hard disk2; a disadvantage is that running from a CD can be slow. To get started, do the following3: Buy a Knoppix CD (for example from Use Linux who do one for £2 at the time of writing). Put it into your CD tray and reboot the computer; the computer should boot into Knoppix.4At the Knoppix prompt just press enter (return). Eventually (this takes a couple of minutes) you should see a desktop appearing on your screen with a web browser - exit the browser with the X in it's top right-hand corner. The toolbar is at the bottom of your screen. Towards the centre are four buttons labelled 1-4; these correspond to four different desktops - just stick with desktop 1 for the moment. The main menu button is the large K symbol at the left. Clicking on this reveals many possibilities; KGraphics is of most interest to photographers: select gtkam now.
Gtkam is a tool for extracting photos from your digital camera via a USB connection; connect your camera to your computer's USB port. Click CameraAdd camera menu and click detect; this should detect your camera.which should appear in the left-hand pane; click on the triangle icons until you reach the photos - these should appear in the right-hand pane as thumbnails. Click on the thumbnail of your choice and then FileSave photosSelected, select the Desktop folder, tick the relevant boxes. Give the photo the name photo.jpg, click OK and it will appear on your desktop.
Alternatively, if you use flash memory and a laptop, another method is to put the flash memory into the PCMCIA adaptor and a new folder (PCMCIA disk) will appear on your desktop. Click on this folder, and through to the folders it contains, until you find the image of your choice; drag and drop this image file to the desktop. Either way, you should now have an image file on your desktop which you can view by double clicking on it.
GIMP is roughly like Photoshop. Click on KGraphicsgimp. The file menu is in the upper left hand corner; use FileOpen to open your image (remember it lives in Desktop). As far as I know, Gimp can do everything that PS can. Tools such as crop and clone are in the main GIMP panel; basic colour menus are in LayerColors and basic filters in FilterEnhance. Explore and enjoy!
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